3 takeaways: Lakers blown out by Nets in preseason opener

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The Los Angeles Lakers lost 123-97 to the Brooklyn Nets in the preseason opener Sunday.

Unfortunately, the stars of both teams didn’t play. LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza were all out for the Lakers; the Nets didn’t play Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, Patty Mills, Joe Harris and James Johnson.

Anthony Davis only played in the first quarter, and every other Laker got to battle it out for minutes after that.

It was a three-point deficit for the Lakers at the end of the third quarter, but the Nets’ youngsters simply outplayed the Lakers’ G League players in the fourth. Brooklyn outscored L.A. 39-16 in the final 12 minutes.

Here are the three takeaways from the opener:

Anthony Davis looked massive on the court

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

When head coach Frank Vogel said Davis’ body looked imposing during the first week of training camp, he wasn’t kidding.

Davis occupied a ton of space on the court, and though his numbers for the game were reasonably rough, it’s a promising sign for his status going forward.

As Davis gradually plays more minutes in these games, he’ll make a stronger impact with his upgraded size and physicality. He also ended the first quarter playing at center because the starting minutes with DeAndre Jordan didn’t have appealing spacing.

Malik Monk shines at shooting guard

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The Lakers have a positional battle brewing at shooting guard, and Malik Monk stood out against the competition.

Monk came off the bench eager to shoot, and once he saw one fall, the rest kept coming. His 15 points in 21 minutes led all Lakers, and he hit 3-of-6 from deep. His last two attempts from beyond the arc were off-balance looks, which weren’t the best.

But his display of pull-up and catch-and-shoot shooting is a bright spot early on.

Defensive rebounding needs to improve

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers came into the game shorthanded in the frontcourt without Anthony and Ariza, two players who will get heavy minutes at power forward. Even James can be included in that category with his rebound prowess.

Still, the Lakers struggled to grab defensive rebounds in the first few quarters. The Nets had an 8-to-1 advantage over the Lakers in offensive rebounding at one point, though L.A. cut into that deficit.

Brooklyn out-rebounded L.A. 54-to-41 overall, so that could be worth keeping an eye on going forward. Kendrick Nunn led the team in rebounds with seven.

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